Tag: How to Revise Your Novel

Admission of Guilt

Okay. I admit it:  I’m not happy with Witches because it’s written in third-person POV, not first-person (which is what I’ve been writing in for years now).  I admit it.  Happy?  It actually doesn’t make me happy (and yet it does. Both at the same time. I may have some identity issues.).  Changing third-person to first-person is not the hardest thing I can imagine revision-wise. (I’m not saying it’s easy, just “not the hardest”.) However…doing alternating first-person view points well (and clearly) can be tricky. And I need about six POV characters to tell this story fully.

Six.

That’s a lot of character voices to keep straight. Not to mention, formatting the manuscript so as not to confuse readers. Because, like juggling six viewpoint characters isn’t enough, they’re also going to be in different countries, which will be need-to-know info. That won’t be difficult at all.

Ha. Ha.

To be fair, most of the book will be in Kahleena’s or Bali’s POV, a good chunk will be in either Casimir’s or Julien’s POV, and the rest will be in Siobhan’s and Eodin’s. So, I need to make it clear at the beginning of each chapter where we are and whose head we’re in.  I’m going to re-start this revision with that in mind and keep on keeping-on.

Suggestions are welcome.

Winning Against Inertia

I’ve started working on the revision for Witches.  Which means I’ve done two chapters so far.  It’s…interesting.  The first few chapters are pretty clean, actually. I’m altering my old voice to my new voice, but I usually write first-person these days, and this story is in third-person…which is a bit of a challenge for me.  If I didn’t need multiple viewpoint characters to tell this story, I would definitely be changing the POV as well.  But I don’t think a story written from the viewpoints of at least four characters would work that well in first-person.  (Plus, that’s pretty confusing.)

So.  Two chapters down, 67 to go.

I’m considering the idea of graduate school when I finish my bachelor’s degree next December.  My school offers an online master’s degree in journalism, which is intriguing to me.  I believe words have power.  And journalism, or at least this degree, can help me to use them.  So.  Mulling that over a lot.

I also got some writing done today on Siren Song.  Win!  I broke the inertia all the way around today.  It’s been a good day.

Decision Made

I’ve decided that I can’t go through the rest of the HTRYN process with this version of Witches. The distant POV and voice are just too much for me to ignore comfortably, even while revising. And the little voice in my head–I think it’s the Muse’s other personality–is jumping up and down and screaming so loudly that I can’t think straight. I even gave up on reading through the last ten chapters or so. I don’t think I have a copy of the very first draft of Witches, which is probably a blessing, but my writing has changed so much since this version, that it is proving difficult to read. My voice is SO different now!

I know it’s not always possible to “fix” a first novel, but I think this one is salvageable. If not, at least two of the characters are going to be extremely angry with me…

Update:  I just found my original first draft of Witches. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to read it…

Editing Stumbling Block

So, I’m almost finished with my first read-through of Witches (the third version). I’m not making many notes as I go, though. Nowhere as many as I thought I’d make. It’s not that the draft is clean. Far from it. It’s that the entire draft feels wrong.

What do I mean by that? I still love the characters and the story, but the POV and voice are far different from what I write now, and, as a result, this draft feels…I don’t know, clunky, distant, impersonal? Now I have to decide if I should continue on with the HTRYN process, or go back and update the voice and POV with what I know now.

This story was the first one I ever started to write, and even if it doesn’t ever see the light of day, I would like a version that I’m happy with. I am not happy with this version.

Thoughts?

Too Good to Be True

So, I started revisions on Witches on Sunday, using HTRYN.  I haven’t touched this story in years, and, in fact, have actually forgotten large chunks of it, so reading it has been an experience. In the first lesson of HTRYN, you’re looking for places the characters, story, or world went wrong (or places they went right). I remember the first time I used it to revise a story:  I had red ink all over the pages, with notations of things. This time…the first few chapters have a few scattered marks, but the rest of the 20 chapters I’ve read so far have nothing. Nothing.

This concerns me. Oh, the story isn’t perfect, not by any means. But it’s written in a far different voice and POV than I use now, and that is what bothers me. It feels off, but not wrong. I’ve found a few “wrong” things: like a couple of details that don’t mesh well with the worldbuilding, but the story/plot itself seems to be sound. So…

I still have a lot more reading (and lessons) to get through, but as it stands now, the main thing seems to be that I’m going to have to fix the voice. I’m not as worried about that as I probably should be, because I would fix that a chapter at a time, which isn’t an overwhelming idea.

I have zero experience with this result from revisions. Anyone have any thoughts?

Re-thinking this whole writing thing

…okay, not really re-thinking. Let’s just say I’m going to try something new (or, actually, old). Confused yet? Let me explain. Have you heard of Holly Lisle? If you haven’t, well, you don’t know what you’re missing out on. Holly is a rarity: a mid-list author who actually makes a living with her writing. She’s smart, she’s a great writer, she knows what she’s doing, and, more importantly, she’s really big on paying it forward (she did start Forward Motion, after all). She spends a lot of her time helping her fellow writers out. To that end, she has created lots of helpful things, from the smaller workshops like How to Create a Language, How to Create a Character, How to Write Page-Turning Scenes…and she has also created huge, incredibly detailed classes Like How To Revise Your Novel and How To Think Sideways.

I was in the original HTTS class, as well as the original HTRYN class, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much difference these two classes made in my writing. The way Holly thinks, the way she breaks things down using plain language, worksheets, examples…well, it got me thinking in ways I’d never thought before (which was the point, right?). Since I don’t have much done on The Fall–in reality, I have only a handful of pages written, basically no pre-work, and haven’t touched it in weeks–I’ve decided that I’m going to take it through HTTS. I know the end result will be much closer to the story I have in my head, much more true to the vision I can see for the story. It will just be better. Yeah, it’ll be a lot of work and it will take me a while, but in the end, it’ll be worth it.

I’m a huge fan of Holly’s writing in general, and I know her courses can really get results–if you’re willing to do the work. I am. I haven’t been published, but I’ve gotten some partial manuscript requests because of her courses, and I want to give everything I can to The Fall. I’ve also decided to become one of Holly’s affiliates. I do believe whole-heartedly in her methods, her teaching, and her results, and if you have any interest in checking it out for yourself, go here. If you aren’t a writer, but you’d like to read a great book, you can check those out as well.